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03-05-2012, 09:05 AM   #1
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Kit for trip to Europe

Hi All: I am new here, but post pretty regularly over at camera-enthusiast.com. I am cross-posting a question I posed there.

My wife and I are taking a 2 week trip to Germany later this year, visiting Munich, Salsburg and other cities in Bavaria. I am trying to decide on my kit. I am mainly interested in architecture and landscape shots. We plan on walking in the cities alot and visiting a lot of castles/churches, and hiking in the mountains.

My last vacation was 5 years ago in England. I brought my 16-55; 50mm1.4; and 35mm 2.0. Looking at my photos again, 90% were taken with the 16-55. However, I remember that the 16-55 was a pain to haul around, made me very conspicuous, and I was always concerned about bashing it into something.

On this trip, I want to travel light and would ideally like to take 2 only lenses. I am trying to figure out a setupwhere I can leave the 16-55 at home. Here is what I have:

SMC 35mm 2.0 (good all arounder, but FOV prob too long for city shots; not as fast as I would like indoors); SMC 50mm 1.4 (great low light, but limited use for landscape and indoor shots); Vivitar MF 28mm 2.8 (good field of view but pain to use); kit 15-85 (hate this lens--never use it); 50-200mm (great lens for tight shots of wildlife; but again, limited usefullness for architectural/city shots).

I don't really want to buy another lens, so I am considering just taking the 35 and being done with it. If I purchased another lens, it would need to be something relatively inexpensive like the Rokinon 8mm FishEye. If I bought that, maybe I could just get by with that at the 35

Any suggestions on what to take? My wife says take them all....but I want to pack light and do not want to risk losing my whole kit. Thanks!

03-05-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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I spent a month in Europe this past summer and the two lenses I used most were the Sigma 10-20, 2.8 and the Pentax 70-200, 3.5. I used the 70-200 for about 85 % of my shots and it was my walk around lens. I found that it took most of the shots I needed and I know it looked a little weird when the barrell shot out, but I still found it to be the best for my needs. I also went to Saltzburg, Munich, Dresden, Wolfsburg, Rothenburg and Prague, and two weeks in Belgrade, If you are not famaliar with the super wide angle, it takes some getting used to and I still am not that comfortable with it, but still working on it. I have just ordered the sigma 50mm 1.8, so am anxious to have that, would have been interesting to have that on my trip, but overall I was very happy with the 70-200.
03-05-2012, 09:56 AM   #3
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Most likely the kit lens (18-55) will cover 95% of all the situations. Just set the camera in Av mode and F8 and have fun.

The only need for a fast lens will be inside building that are not well lit. In most cases you will need a wide angle lens there so your 50 1.4 will be of little use. 28 to 35mm may work for interior shots but the 18 to 24 range may be better. With the kit lens you lose about one stop but since it is wider you can shoot at lower speeds to compensate.

My recommendation will be to get the kit lens and the 35/F2 just in case. Don't bother with the 50-200. Most things in Europe are close by and you can always crop a bit if needed.
03-05-2012, 10:13 AM   #4
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I visited Paris last october and only took DA 40mm and that was enough for me.

03-05-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
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well my two cents for cities is always that wide is your best and only friend . my GF is using her kit lens 18-50 to this day and always get amazing photos. its the only lens she likes BC its simple and she can forget about the camera and just focus on the picture , for me my best friend is the FA 20mm .
a wide lens is easy to use, easy to focus, easy to keep sharp even in dim lights , or changing objects , lights shadows and so on . you just need to be brave and move closer to some subjects . if you are just interested in buildings there is no question at all . if you interested in taking photos of people. you need to make sure you are in a city where people accept cameras in front of there faces , and be nice and ask
03-05-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
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Depends where you will be going. If you will be mostly in cities, especially medieval type cities, you will need a wide angle. But for some other situations you might need a tele (wildlife, but then again, the animals in Europe aren't very interesting, unless you go visit a zoo). A fast lens if you are planning on going indoors, like museums or cathedrals (but photography is sometimes prohibited in such places). When it comes to travel I usually use the standard wide zoom with a prime and mini tripod for special occasions (like a really wonderful landscape). On the other hand, I live in Europe and take pictures of the city here sometimes, and I like using my Pentax 35mm f2.4 prime. It is fast enough for shooting evenings and even limited indoor, but sometimes I would like it to be a little wider.
03-05-2012, 04:41 PM   #7
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I don't know how much this will help because I'll mention mostly different lenses, but here goes. My basic kit, field-tested in vertical mining towns and small Mexican villages and large cities, in narrow canyons and caves and high mountains and wide-open spaces, in tight enclosures and dark rooms and big bright spaces, consists of:
DA10-17, Tamron 10-24, DA18-250, FA50/1.4, and Raynox DCR-250
No matter which of my 230+ other lenses I'm carrying, those are always with me. Yes, I use faster MF primes for certain situations. My 24-28-35-58-85mm f/2s deliver great images. If I really want to be minimal, my ultra-light mini-kit of tiny slower adapted lenses weighs less than one K50/1.2. but aren't sufficient for general needs. I depend on what I listed: 3 zooms, one prime, one macro adapter.
03-05-2012, 04:56 PM   #8
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Just bring your 16-50/2.8 (I assume that's what you have, there's no such lens as a 16-55).

03-05-2012, 05:10 PM   #9
TMB
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Sorry..typo. I have the Pentax SMC P-DA J Zoom lens - 16 mm - 45 mm. On my last trip, I found its size and weight to be very inconvenient, esp. in crowds and if trying to take pictures indoors at a cafe, etc.
03-05-2012, 05:22 PM   #10
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Hmmm, the 16-45 isn't what I'd call a big lens. I find it helpful to wear the camera over my shoulder with the lens facing towards my body to stop it flapping around and clobbering people & things, not sure if you need to reconsider your camera strap/how you wear it solution? I mention it because it's a cheap fix.

That said, can you rationalise the purchase of a DA 15mm limited lens then? It's ideal for Europe if small & light is important to you, and it obviously is to you. You could cover a lot of photography in Europe with a DA15 & FA35.

You could purchase a DA15 for the trip, and sell it afterwards, and drop maybe just $150? Compared to the cost of the trip that's pretty cheap right?
03-06-2012, 05:00 PM   #11
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Without knowing your tastes, it is hard to recommend, but since you do not mention wild life, I would seriously leave then70-20 at home. My last several trips to Europe have been with nothing longer than 85 mm. The usual, for a vacation is my sigma 10-20, and Tamron 28-75, then my 85/1.4 and my 8mm fisheye. Usually I take 2 bodies, right now that is K5/K7.
03-06-2012, 05:06 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies. I think I am going to go with the 16-45, the 35mm, and the 28mm. Alternatively, I might purchase the 8mm Rikonon and leave the 16-45 at home.
03-06-2012, 05:58 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by TMB Quote
Thanks for the replies. I think I am going to go with the 16-45, the 35mm, and the 28mm. Alternatively, I might purchase the 8mm Rikonon and leave the 16-45 at home.
Three lenses that cover the same FLs?

Just so you get the full range of replies, I'd take the 12-24 if nothing else. If I had a 10-17 (I do) I would take that, too. A 28-75 would makes a nice complement, as would a 40 and 70 if you don't mind swapping lenses.
03-06-2012, 06:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TMB Quote
Thanks for the replies. I think I am going to go with the 16-45, the 35mm, and the 28mm. Alternatively, I might purchase the 8mm Rikonon and leave the 16-45 at home.
I checked my data from one trp to Paris and found the 10-20 took 60 % of the shots and a large number of those were at 10mm. I also have the 8mm fisheye, but it is more of a special use due to the distortion. I think if you got the 8mm, and then added something like an 85mm you would be set along with the 16-45. But that's just me. I find really wide is very useful in cities with narrow streets and limited step back ability
03-06-2012, 06:49 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Three lenses that cover the same FLs?
.

Well, the 35 would be for low light, as it is an F2, as opposed to the f4 of the 16-45. You're right..the 28 is probably superfluous.
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